Governor Announces Funding for New Coastal Restoration Projects

Governor Announces Funding for New Coastal Restoration Projects

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Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday announced that Alabama will receive nearly $100 million in funding for three proposed coastal restoration projects as part of the ongoing early restoration process following the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Funding for the proposed projects will come from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration process.  The projects were negotiated with BP and Alabama's federal and state partners.  The project proposals have been approved by BP and the NRDA Trustee Council.

The assessment of overall, long-term losses to Alabama's coastal resources continues under the NRDA process.  Governor Bentley will continue additional efforts to restore losses suffered by the state.

The new proposed projects approved for NRDA funding and detailed by Governor Bentley on Wednesday include:

  • Gulf State Park Enhancements:  This project is designed to restore lost recreational use services and lost dune habitat services through the following five primary methods:
    • Construction of an environmental research and education facility to benefit Alabama students
    • Trail construction and enhancement in the park
    • Contribute to the construction of a lodge and meeting facility to attract more visitors to the Alabama Gulf Coast
    • Dune restoration along the park's extensive undeveloped beachfront
    • Construction of a coastal ecosystems interpretive center
      • The estimated cost of the Gulf State Park Enhancements project is approximately $85.5 million.
  • Oyster Reef Restoration in Mobile County:  This project would restore approximately 319 acres of oyster reef in the estuarine waters of the State of Alabama.  The project would utilize oyster shell cultch to restore oyster reefs in Mobile County.  The restored reefs would be near other reefs that are currently managed by the state and will be within the historic footprint of oyster reefs in the area.
      • The estimated cost of the Oyster Reef Restoration project is approximately $3.2 million.
  • Swift Tract Living Shoreline in Baldwin County:  This project would construct an oyster breakwater/living shoreline to stabilize and protect 1.6 miles of shoreline from erosion by dampening wave energy while also providing a habitat for oyster colonization.  The purpose is to reduce coastal marsh loss from shoreline erosion and reestablish "substrate" for shellfish colonization.  This project focuses on areas within the boundaries of the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
      • The estimated cost of the Swift Tract Living Shoreline project is approximately $5 million.

As part of the trustee approval process, trustees actively sought public input on project ideas through a variety of methods.  In the coming months, the NRDA Trustees will provide more information about the proposed projects and will at that time invite public review and comment in accordance with the Oil Pollution Act and all other applicable legal requirements and regulations.

The funding announced Wednesday was negotiated separately from the state's lawsuit against BP that is currently pending.  The funding does not release BP from any claims for monetary damages done to the state.

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